There is great danger in being 67 years old. Days can begin to merge into each other, to look the same. 70 or 75 could sneak up on you without you having done a thing. It is so easy just to slow down and settle into a comfortable routine. It reminds of a recipe for boiling a frog: put the frog in pan of cool milk and put it on the heat. The frog will be enjoying the milk and never notice that he is being boiled until it is too late. So, it's off to Paris for me and Jeannie. No stale, stable existence for us. With age comes renouncements but that need not be a bad thing. To everything there is a season and our season for blue water sailing, long distance bicycle rides, ice hockey, skiing, and nose to the grindstone work is over. Now it is the season for Paris. We are learning the art of choosing. Our apartment is less than one quarter the size of our house. No darkroom, no sewing room, no 5,000 book reference library, and many more missing things will be the reality of our lives for a while. Learning how to live in Paris, in the midst of beauty and history, without the distractions, the endless distractions, of life as it is now will change our character and our outlook on life. It will take us off “automated living” and make us conscious of ourselves and how we want to be. This image made on Île St Louis has become more relevant. It is a place where I often spend time in contemplation and looking at it now, I realize that I can almost see into the the front window of our apartment at the foot of Pont d'Arcole.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Saturday, August 18, 2012
It was a cold December day when I made this image in the Tuileries. I often think, walking in the parks of Paris about what happens there. Some people have destinations and the park is the fastest way to get there. Some are seeing the park for the first time, not stopping long in any one place but seeing it all. Such a phrase: “seeing it all” as if that can be done any other way than by stopping long in one place. Some do stop and sit. In chairs like these, perhaps alone, perhaps with a friend, a lover, or just a companion, people stop to rest and perhaps reflect. If I could transport myself to those chairs I would be sitting on the right, my feet up on the chair across from me. She would be sitting next to me. I don't what know the people who sat here last talked about or thought about, whether it was trivial or important, mundane or romantic. I know what we would, however, be reflecting on. We got our visa to stay a year in Paris. Our next visit will not be a short 30 days. I will finally get to “stop long” here in the best city in the world and “see it all.” Our apartment is in the center of Paris, about 350 meters from the bronze plaque in front of Notre Dame. Wherever I go I will have to walk through history and beauty to get there. There is no choice, to get off Cité one has to walk past Notre Dame or walk through the flower market to the Cité Métro or through Place Dauphine onto Pont Neuf, or across Pont d'Arcole to Hôtel de Ville or along the quais of Île St Louis.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
I enjoy walking along Quai de Bourbon and Quai d'Anjou on Île St Louis. It is quiet here and the tone of the day can change my mood. Sometimes I walk here on a sunny day to enhance a good feeling I may have from an excellent lunch or to end a long walk with some contemplation before going home. I may even start out here, hoping the warm feeling will carry me through whatever is coming next. On this sunny day I am in an up beat mood and walking here will make it even better. I suppose we all have our different ways of enjoying Paris. On this walk I have seen an elderly woman, dressed in her Sunday best walking a tiny white dog. One of my favorite images was of a young child running along the street (Posted as “The Girl on the Quai”). Sometimes I see other people, like these, just being here. Sometimes in couples, talking quietly, sometimes alone, lost in thought. I have a strong association with art in Paris when I walk here. August Rodin walked on this quai when he visited Camille Claudel. Once I was lucky enough to find the doors to what was her court yard open and was able to spend a few minutes imaging the lives of Camille and August. Emile Zola's novel “L'Oeuvre,” the one that cost him his friendship with Cézanne, started here on a rainy night. Baudelaire lived on this quai. Sometimes it seems to me that every other building along these two quays has a plaque telling the dates of an artist, a writer, or an architect that changed the face of Paris. The people in this image were lost in their thoughts and dreams just as I was in mine.